Locals cool to ‘Freedom Week’ tax holiday

Floridians can celebrate two kinds of freedom during this Fourth of July weekend, but area residents and businesses seem to only be planning for one.

Earlier this year the Florida Legislature approved a bipartisan sales tax holiday, designating July 1-7 as “Freedom Week.” Through next Wednesday, the state will not collect sales tax on a wide range of items—including life jackets, water skis, kneeboards, surf boards, rods and reels, bottled water, event tickets, museums, movies and more.

But locals who spoke with Mainstreet Daily News were not planning around the opportunity for savings.

Steven Washburn, general manager for the Bass Pro Shops at Celebration Pointe, said predicting a customer increase is tricky, but the store wasn’t expecting anything out of the ordinary, noting the state had already had a few other sales tax breaks.

Stores like Chain Reaction Bike Shop and Green’s Outdoors & More said that they were planning for business as usual.

At Celebration Pointe, resident Dillon Foley had heard about the sales tax holiday, but he wasn’t sure what items were included and said he didn’t plan to change his shopping habits.

Shoppers at the Oaks Mall seemed to be in the same boat.

Sherry Lewis heard about the tax holiday, but not what was included.

“I just know they said they were having a tax freedom [day],” Lewis said.

Heidi Zimmerman entered Freedom Week without knowing it was happening. She said she wasn’t sure if she’d do any shopping.

“Unless I look it up and see if there’s some items that might be of interest,” Zimmerman said.

Sitting in his fireworks tent in the Oaks Mall parking lot, Josh Knox said the state might need to improve the marketing for the week; he was clueless that the Freedom Week sales tax holiday started Thursday.

In May, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the tax relief package that included Freedom Week. The bill also established a back-to-school sales tax holiday (July 31 to Aug. 9), a disaster preparedness sales tax holiday (May 28 to June 6) and permanently stopped sales tax on items that seniors need for independent living.

The state government has posted a FAQs sheet about the sales tax holidays. The following items qualify for Freedom Week purchases:

  • Tickets

    • Music events

    • Sporting events (including season tickets)

    • Cultural events

    • Movies

    • Museums

    • State park annual passes

    • Fitness facilities for events through Dec. 31

  • Boating and Water Supplies

    • Life jackets and coolers―first $75

    • Safety flares―first $50

    • Water skis, wakeboards, kneeboards―first $150

    • Recreational inflatable water tubes or floats capable of being towed―first $150

    • Paddleboards and surfboards―first $300

    • Canoes and kayaks―first $500

    • Snorkels, goggles and swimming masks―first $25

  • Camping Supplies

    • Tents―first $200

    • Sleeping bags, camping stoves, portable hammocks and collapsible camping chairs―first $50

    • Camping lanterns and flashlights―first $30

  • Fishing Supplies

    • Rod and reel―first $75 if sold individually; first $150 if sold as set

    • Tackle boxes or bags―first $30

    • Bait or fishing tackle―first $5 if sold individually; first $10 if sold as set

  • Sports equipment

    • Any item used in individual or team sports, not including clothing or footwear, that sells for $40 or less

  • General Supplies

    • Sunscreen and insect repellent―first $15

    • Sunglasses―first $100

    • Binoculars―first $200

    • Water bottles―first $30

    • Hydration packs―first $50

    • Bicycle helmets―first $50

    • Bicycles―first $250

    • Outdoor gas or charcoal grills―first $250

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